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In the humility of the washing of the feet, we find the greatest heights of love

Sr. Anita - Meghalaya


The Etymology and the History behind Maundy Thursday: The word “Maundy” is originated from the Latin word called “Mandatum,” which means “commandment.” This day is named after Jesus’ commandment to His disciples to love one another. Maundy Thursday demonstrates the importance of humility and service by remembering Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.

The history of Maundy Thursday dates back to the first century A.D when Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples. The event is recorded in the Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and has been celebrated by Christians ever since. Over the centuries, various traditions have emerged, including the washing of feet, the stripping of altar, and the sharing of a special meal.

The Significance of Maundy Thursday:  Maundy Thursday holds a crucial place in Holy Week, which starts with Palm Sunday and culminates with Easter Sunday. This day reflects on the teachings of Jesus. It is a day that commemorates Jesus Christ’s Last Supper with His disciples and reminds us of the importance of humility, selflessness, and service to others. Holy Thursday celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and the institution of the Sacrament of the Priesthood. During the Last Supper Jesus offers Himself as the Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial Lamb, and teaches that every ordained priest is to follow the same sacrifice in the same way.

Holy Thursday, we celebrate three anniversaries:

1.       The anniversary of the first Holy Mass.

2.       The anniversary of the institution of ministerial priesthood to perpetuate the Holy Mass, convey God’s forgiveness to repentant sinners and preached the good news of salvation.

3.       The anniversary of the promulgation of Jesus’ new commandment of love: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn.13:34).

The Gospel Episode: Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus transformed the Jewish Passover into the Eucharistic celebration. After washing the feet of his apostles and commanding them to do humble service for each other. Jesus concluded the ceremony by giving His apostles His own body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine as spiritual food and drink. Jesus washed their feet, fed them and then went out to die. This Gospel episode challenges us to become for others, Christ the healer, Christ the compassionate and selfless person, Christ the humble “washer of feet.”

The Kenosis: Maundy Thursday initiates the Paschal Triduum, the period which commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time to celebrate and remember the Kenosis; the emptying of Christ.

On Thursday, Jesus had the Last Supper with His disciples. He emptied Himself as He willingly let Judas depart from the table, knowing that He would betray Him. Jesus emptied Himself when He knelt down to wash His disciples’ feet. He emptied Himself when He went out into the garden to pray, and the anguish on His mind made His capillaries burst, and He wept tears of blood. He knew His faith, but He emptied Himself for us and chose to face His death. And all the emptying, and all the kenosis, was rewarded with victory. Nothing holds us back from living the life he has called us to do. Nevertheless, we are called to live a life as Christ lived. We are called to empty ourselves. We are called to the theology of kenosis. May that be our anthem this Easter. May we walk boldly and firmly in it. Let us empty ourselves and rely upon His graces and mercy to lead us to victory.

Conclusion: Maundy Thursday serves as a reminder of the importance of living a life of service, just as Jesus did during His time on earth. It is a day of reflection and a call to action for Christians worldwide to embody the values of our faith and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Thanks be to God for the gift of Priesthood and Thanks be to God for the Eucharist!

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